Moscow isn’t really a tourist city and most visitors are business travelers. That being said, here is the first tip already. Most high class hotels are booked well, even sold out, by business travelers during the weekdays. But,, during weekends and Russian holidays, hotels are empty and offer special deals.
If you look around, you can get a reasonable hotel room in the center for around 3000 Rub (ca 45 EUR) per night already. Look at the Holiday Inn on Ulitsa Lesnaya for example. They have nice and spacious double rooms for that price.
The great deals
5000-6000 Rub (87 EUR) get you a room in a 4-star hotel. Closer to the very center, like the Sheraton Palace or the Tverskaya Marriot and Grand Marriot. Air BnB places and short term rental apartments start at about the same rate. Be aware that you usually have to pay a final cleaning fee. So apartments are usually only worth it, if you stay for more than 3 days. Moscow has some great apartments to offer. Most of them are not in AirBnB, but offered via their own websites.
Here is a link to Moscow Suites, one of the best in town: http://www.moscowsuites.ru/
100 EUR will get you a room in the Golden Apple, which is a nice boutique hotel, close to the Pushkin Square. Its probably the best value for money option in Moscow, but often booked out, since its known. The nearby StandArt hotel may be a cool alternative. The 5-star boutique hotel is in the very center, a stones throw from Tverskaya, our main street. It has nicely designed rooms, each different, created by modern artists. Speaking of boutique and design hotels. The newly opened MOSS boutique hotel in the trendy and upcoming Kitai Gorod district, offers 5-Star service and comfort, mixed with a minimalistic modern design, for around 200 EUR’s a night. The Kitai Gorod area is known for its cool bars and you can basically walk everywhere from MOSS.
The Swissotel downgraded from 5 to 4 stars by itself a few years ago, to enter a new price segment. They offer 5 star rooms for a 4 star price now. Most with a nice view over downtown Moscow.
The creme de la creme: Moscow’s 5-Star Hotels:
In my personal opinion the Four Seasons is leading the list, with its spacious rooms, being most centrally located, just next to Red Square. Some of my friends may argue with that and prefer the nearby Ritz Carlton. They claim, that the interior of the rooms at the Ritz is more high quality, than at the Four Seasons.
At the same time, I often hear complaints about the service of the “Ritz”. The Lotte Plaza follows up next in my personal ranking. The hotel of the Korean Lotte group is very popular among Asian guests. If you want it more classy and Russian posh, than the Radisson Royal, or Hotel Ukraina, as the Moscow locals call it, is your choice. This hotel is equally popular with Russian high class guests and foreigners.
And lets not forget about the Ararat Hyatt, which used to be on the top of the list, ever competing with the Ritz Carlton and is now almost forgotten, after the Four Seasons opened. The Ararat is also very well located in downtown Moscow. The staff is nice and the rooms are modern and what you would expect from a 5-Star house. Rooms are a little small sometimes and the view is none existent.
The oldest player on the block is the Metropol Hotel, which is undergoing a modernization and renovation at the time being, but still open and operating. This hotel is also very popular by Russian VIPs and a bit Russian styled, while the Swiss hotel director micro manages every aspect of the hotels service and ensures an international high level service at the Metropol. The Metropols breakfast room alone is worth staying there for a night or two.
And sure there are much more good hotels, like the St.Regis, the National, Kempinsky Baltschug or the Marriot Aurora. Especially in the 4 star and business traveler segment, there are many good places, like the Renaissance Moscow Monarch, belonging to the Marriot group and managed by a German, a favorite of many of my friends.
Soviet style and early 90s – No go!
If you want to go back in time and experience a Soviet styled or 90s Russian hotel, with prostitutes waiting for clients on the couches, next to the check-in, than visit the Korston Hotel or the Izmailovo Delta, which was built for the 1982 Olympics. Or the Cosmos Hotel. A bit better, but equally as old styled with bad service is the Crown Plaza. By now, there are so many good hotels with cheap rooms in Moscow, that you don’t have to do this to yourself and you can leave these places for the Russian visitors. There is one good thing about the Korston Hotel, though. If you get a room in the upper level of the North side of the hotel, you will probably have one of the best views on Moscow downtown (which isn’t that beautiful anyways) and you can even see the airplanes start at Sheremetyevo Airport on the other side of town, on a clear night.
Have a good stay in Moscow!